This week 360Learning, a fast-growing collaborative learning company, received an astounding $200 Million of investment. Only a few years ago this would have been incomprehensible, but now it makes sense. This is a company that has unlocked the Creator Economy in corporate training, and the impact could be massive. Let me try to explain.
The corporate training market is huge: over $260 Billion is spent on employee skills each year. Companies train front-line workers, nurses, drivers, and other essential workers and simultaneously spend millions of dollars on technology skills, professional skills, and more. Compliance and safety training itself is more than a $20 Billion industry and programs for leaders and executives often cost tens of thousands of dollars per person.
Corporate training has been built around the paradigm of teaching. Instructional designers and consultants build courses or programs; they package them into online or workshop formats; then they deliver and sell them to others. It’s very similar to the “publishing model” used in books. It takes months to build a course, then people consume it (or buy it) for many years to come.
The problem, of course, is that this model is slow. The content gets out of date, media standards keep changing (TikTok is the newest paradigm), and employees need up-to-date content. So while billions of dollars are spent on packaged content, much of it never gets used. (We’ve looked at the utility of packaged courseware and it turns out almost 80% of licensed content is never used. In fact our research with large companies found that internally developed content is up to six times more valuable than off-the-shelf published content.)
There are ways of making published content valuable. In our academy (The Josh Bersin Academy) we “always surprise the learner,” by creating programs that always change from page to page. We use a cohort-based design so people learn from their peers. And we use exciting videos and other entertainment pieces to keep people excited.
But despite all these good ideas, more than 70% of all corporate training is developed internally, and these publishing models don’t keep up. Witness the fall in Coursera’s stock over the last few months, as buyers and investors realize so much of that content isn’t as useful as we thought.
Well thanks to innovators like 360Learning, this is all about to change. And that’s why the company is growing so fast.